UNCLAS AMMAN 003796
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA AND H
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP AMGT ASEC AFIN OTRA JO
SUBJECT: WELCOME CODEL BAUCUS
REF: SECSTATE 126854
Â¶1. (SBU) Embassy Amman warmly welcomes the visit of CODEL Baucus to
Jordan from September 16-17, 2007, as requested in reftel. The
travelers should carefully review this message, especially the
threat assessment at paragraph 8.
Â¶2. (SBU) Control officer for this visit is Mark Wilson, Economic
Officer. Contact information is as follows: 962-6-590-6225
(office); 962-6-592-7653 (fax); 962-6-585-9657 (home);
962-79-560-8995 (mobile); and WilsonME4@state.gov. The Embassy's
after-hours telephone number is +962-6-590-6500.
Â¶3. (SBU) Hotel reservations are being made for the delegation at the
Grand Hyatt Hotel, phone number 962 (465) 1234. Cost is at a rate
within per diem; breakfast is included in the room rate. Due to
security concerns in Jordan (para 8) TDY personnel are assigned
hotels on a rotational basis. Therefore, Embassy Amman will make
the final decision on hotel accommodations for all visitors. The
Embassy will provide expeditor assistance upon arrival and
Â¶4. (U) Valid visas are required for entry into Jordan. Visas may be
obtained at Queen Alia airport though not at all land border
crossings; however, Embassy Amman suggests visitors obtain their
visas prior to arrival, as there can be long queues for visa
issuance at the airport. Money can be exchanged at Queen Alia
airport or in the delegation's control room.
Â¶5. (U) ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDELINES: Each visitor, regardless of length
of stay, must have fiscal data to pay for direct costs of the visit.
Each agency, organization, or visiting delegation will be charged
for the actual costs attributed to the visit. Direct charge costs
include, but are not limited to, American and LES overtime (for such
services as airport expediting, cashier accommodation exchange,
control room staffing, representational event support), travel and
per diem costs incurred by post personnel in support of visitor's
field travel, rental of vehicles and other equipment, long distance
telephone calls, office supplies, gasoline and other vehicle
maintenance costs, departure tax, and other airport fees.
Â¶6. (U) HEALTH: Although Jordan does not pose any unusual health
hazards for visitors, the quality of health care facilities is not
up to the U.S. or European standards, particularly outside of Amman.
As medications on the local economy are often in short supply,
visitors should bring sufficient medications to post for their
chronic medical problems. Immunizations should be current for
Tetanus and Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and B. Visitors should drink
bottled water rather than tap water. Food in the hotels and most
restaurants is safe to eat, but some of the smaller local
restaurants do not always observe proper food handling procedures.
Only those personnel covered under the State Department's medical
program and who have a valid medical clearance for Jordan are
eligible for a medical evacuation at USG cost. All other visitors
are advised to have their own medical evacuation insurance to cover
evacuation by air ambulance. Otherwise it will be necessary to
ensure that the respective agency will cover any costs related to a
medical evacuation. All local hospitals take major credit cards.
Â¶7. (U) SECURITY CLEARANCE AND BUILDING ACCESS: In compliance with
State Department regulations and Embassy policies, visitors
requesting unescorted access to the Embassy compound should inform
RSO Amman of their security clearance level (if any) and should name
the agency that granted that clearance. Telegrams containing this
information should include the "ASEC" tag to ensure distribution to
Electronic devices: RSO approval must be obtained before any
electronic device is brought into the Embassy. Privately owned
laptops and personal computers, peripherals, diskettes, and tapes
are prohibited in all mission facilities. Cellular/mobile phones
and palm pilots are prohibited in controlled access areas.
Travelers with USG-owned unclassified laptops or notebook computers,
peripherals, diskettes, and tapes must receive RSO/IMO authorization
before being granted access to U.S. Mission buildings. USG-owned
classified computers must be sent to post via classified diplomatic
pouch. Classified equipment must bear external USG bar-code
inventory numbers and classification markings commensurate with the
highest level of information processed on the system. Questions
concerning other types of electronic devices and magnetic media may
be directed to the RSO and IMO.
Mandatory personal security training: Per 04 STATE 66580, all
employees traveling to post for 30 days or more (whether PCS or TDY)
must have completed the mandatory personal security training (State
Department Security Overseas Seminar or equivalent) before arriving
at post. Agencies must provide the Chief of Mission with
certification that this training will be completed prior to the
employee's travel. Failure to do so will result in denial of
Â¶8. (U) THREAT ASSESSMENT: The threat of terrorism remains high in
Jordan. Transnational terrorist groups, as well as less
sophisticated local elements, have demonstrated the capability to
pose threats in Jordan. The Al-Qaida in Iraq network (AQIZ) in
particular continues to focus its terrorist activities against U.S.
and Government of Jordan (GOJ) targets in Jordan. AQIZ claimed
responsibility for the November 9, 2005 bombings of three
international hotels in Amman, which killed 60 people and injured
over 100. Pedestrian suicide bombers wearing explosive vests
carried the bombs into the hotels. AQIZ also claimed responsibility
for the Aqaba rocket attacks on August 19, 2005, which killed on
Jordanian soldier and wounded another. The assassination of
American diplomat Larry Foley outside his west Amman residence on
October 28, 2002 was also attributed to AQIZ leader Abu Musab
Al-Zarqawi, who was killed in Iraq in June 2006.
In addition, there has been a series of serious, confirmed terrorist
threats and disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. or Jordanian
interests in Jordan. In February 2006, the Government of Jordan
(GOJ) disrupted a terrorist cell plotting to attack Queen Alia
International Airport. In November 2005, the GOJ indicted six men
for planning to carry out attacks against Americans at hotels and
bars in Amman and Aqaba. In August-September 2005, four militants
were arrested for plotting assassinations of Americans in Jordan.
In July 2005, GOJ authorities arrested 17 men linked to AQIZ who had
planned to assassinate GOJ officials and Americans in Jordan. In
February 2005, four men were arrested for plotting attacks against
GOJ officials, tourists and five-star hotels. In the same month,
another four-man group was disrupted while plotting to attack liquor
stores in Amman and foreign tourists in Aqaba.
Terrorists often do not distinguish between U.S. government
personnel and private citizens. Terrorists may target areas
frequented by Westerners, such as tourist sites, hotels,
restaurants, bars, nightclubs, liquor stores, transportation hubs,
places of worship, expatriate residential areas, and schools. In
light of these security concerns, Americans are urged to maintain a
high level of vigilance, to be aware of their surroundings, and to
take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. It is
especially important for travelers to be unpredictable by varying
their times and routes and to maintain a low profile. Moreover,
Americans are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious or
unfamiliar objects and to immediately report the presence of such
objects to the authorities.
Anti-American and anti-Western sentiment exists in Jordan and has
been sparked on occasion by incidents in the region, particularly
those related to Israeli/Palestinian issues and, to a lesser extent,
Iraq. This may lead to random acts of violence against Westerners.
On September 4, 2006, a gunman fired on foreigners at a popular
tourist site in central Amman, killing one and injuring six.
Travelers are advised to avoid any demonstrations or large
gatherings of people, especially during times of increased tension.
Many demonstrations occur near mosques after Friday prayers.
Consequently, special sensitivity and caution should be exercised at
or near mosques and religious sites during holy days and the Friday
Muslim Sabbath. Demonstrations also often take place at
universities and refugee camps.
Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan,
but petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square
area and near the Roman amphitheater. In the narrow streets of the
older parts of the city center, crowded conditions invite
pickpockets and other petty criminals. Travelers are urged to be
more guarded in these areas so that they do not present easy
opportunities for criminals.
In central and west Amman, there have been reports of thieves
snatching pedestrians' purses from moving vehicles and then driving
off. In some instances, victims were injured when they were unable
to free themselves from their purses. When carrying a purse, it
would be wise to conceal it if possible, to avoid walking near the
road within reach of passing vehicles, and to walk against the flow
Jordanian police have warned the public to exercise vigilance when
leaving banks or ATM machines, as thieves have reportedly preyed
upon persons soon after using these services.
Western women both visiting and residing in Jordan report sexual
harassment and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature. There have
been isolated reports of assault. Women are advised to take
reasonable precautions including dressing conservatively and not
traveling alone. Modest attire should be worn in deference to local
Â¶9. (U) TRAVEL GUIDELINES: American citizens and official visitors
traveling in Jordan should exercise caution, be alert, and stay
informed of regional and local events that could quickly impact the
security environment in the country. It is also recommended to
maintain a low profile and not establish predictable patterns of
movement, even if only visiting for a short period. Taxis are the
only form of public transportation that is recommended.
For further information, see the State Department's Consular
Information Sheet for Jordan at http://travel.state.gov/jordan.html
and link from that site to the most recent Public Announcement on
Travel in the Middle East and South Asia and the most recent
Visit Amman's Classified Web Site at